Whether you're a child or an adult, the diagnostic process can be complicated, and so are the emotions and issues that can arise during it. Pursuing and receiving a diagnosis of ASC can be very positive for some individuals, even empowering.
It can also not be the right choice for everyone, and that is ok too. Our experience has shown us that the reason behind the decision to get a diagnosis is different from person to person. We have tried to outline the various ways and reasons that show how a diagnosis can help support your situation.
In Northamptonshire, the diagnostic pathway for adults and children is similar. Still, there are differences for certain ages and areas of the county. The autism pathways in Northamptonshire are currently under review to make the process smoother for everyone. We will update this page to reflect local changes.
As is the case with all diagnostic pathways, recognition of the condition is usually the first step on this journey. As parents, we are all different; some may seek out support at the early signs of an issue, others may prefer to give it time and hope that the presentation is 'just a phase'. Neither approach is wrong, the key message we want to provide you as parents, is to follow your gut instinct and know that you are the expert in your child.
Initially, you may wonder if it is a phase. Still, if you have persistent concerns and your child is exhibiting a variety of traits. It is worth being proactive and contacting the GP for a referral for a full assessment. The referral route differs slightly depending on your child's age. If your child is preschool age (0-4), your health visitor will be able to complete a referral to the Community Paediatrician Team. If your child is school age, then you would go for a referral via your GP.
As is the case, across the country, waiting lists are very long. If you are desperate for answers, seeking a private diagnosis may be a solution you wish to explore. We have a section on private diagnosis that can give you more information.
If you are interested in investigating a diagnosis but do not want to go down either pathway of the NHS or private, then you can self assess. We have included some resources below that can help you along this pathway. We would like to state that you cannot use your results from these resources as official evidence for benefits or use of support services.
This is not an official diagnosis. It is more of a information gathering and peace of mind exercise for yourself. It may invoke further investigation, or it may be enough for you to make your mind up. However, if you need support, then we would recommend sourcing an official diagnosis.
Once you have made your decision to seek an assessment and you would like to use the NHS pathway, the first step is booking to see your GP. Prepare yourself with the reasons you think you are autistic and why you would like to investigate a diagnosis.
Some ideas that we had...
- To have a better understanding of myself
- To understand why I have never really understood the world I inhabit
- To access better or the right support
- To be able to ask for reasonable adjustments so I can cope with and access services and organisations better
Listing what traits you or other people perceive you have is a also a good way of sharing the information with your GP. The self assessment links in the section above can also help with identifying some traits. Following your GP visit and the doctor believes your case should be investigated further, a referral will made to the ADHD and Asperger's Team, St Mary's (if you live in Northamptonshire) where you will go through the Diagnostic Assessment process with a multidisciplinary team.
We discuss the Private Diagnosis pathway in more detail here...
Practical support and signposting tailored to the family's
Packages for specialised autism parent support groups
and PHSE sessions
Professional training tailored to your service and delivered within
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Disclaimer: En-Fold does not endorse treatments, interventions and therapies but lists them so people can make informed choice. This site is for information purposes only and is a starting point for readers to look into options that may fit or resonate. Remember, therapies for autism, like any condition, should be discussed with a trusted medical practitioner or certified therapist before use. All information, data and material contained, presented or provided here is for general information purposes only and is not to be construed as reflecting the knowledge or opinions of En-Fold, or as providing legal or medical advice. All treatment decisions should be made by the individual in consultation with a health care provider. Case studies provided are done so in good faith, and based on the personal experience of the individual submitting them. En-Fold are in no way endorsing the establishments that are mentioned but offering peer reviews to inform readers.